Health & Wellness

Older Canadians Are the Happiest

Half of us are really quite content with our lives, but life post-55 seems the most satisfying

Photo: iStock/Toxitz.


Among Canadians, at least, happiness tends to peak after the age of 55, according to a new cross-country survey.

The Leger Happiness Index survey asked more than 3,500 Canadians to rate their feelings of happiness on a scale from one to 10. About half rated their happiness at eight or higher. Among those between 18 and 54, 44% gave their lives a score of at least eight, but that number jumped to 61% among those 55 or older.

The survey rated respondents’ happiness in relation to their career, their finances, and their relationships with family, friends, and significant others. It also asked them about spirituality, how recognized they felt by others, and how the health of the environment impacted them.

Not surprisingly, those with higher incomes reported feeling happier, though only 8% of Canadians feel the state of their finances drives their feelings of happiness. High happiness rates were 53% for those earning up to $80,000 a year and 58% for those earning more than that.

While financial security contributes, the survey noticed that happiness more often correlated with respondents’ sense of freedom and whether they felt they were succeeding in living the life they’d always hoped for. Satisfaction in your romantic relationships, the state of your finances, as well as health and perceived recognition from family and friends also contributed, though to lesser degrees.

How happy you’re likely to be may also depend on where you live. While there was no difference between urban and rural respondents, those from Quebec and the East Coast reporting greater happiness than those in Ontario and Alberta. Responses to the question, “How would you rate your level of happiness, all things considered?” averaged 7.4 in Quebec and Prince Edward Island, and 7.5 in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Answers in Ontario and Alberta averaged 7.1.